The artist that WANATeam will present to you is a perfect mix between traditional Ethiopian art and the most beautiful hours of Jazz and Soul. It is thanks to this eclectic style that the Ethiopian-born artist Meklit Hadero has successfully distinguished herself. Author-composer-performer but also experienced intellectual and committed artist, Meklit is one of the artists who want to leave a legacy in today’s society.
From Ethiopia to the United States, from political science to music
Ethiopian-born Meklit Hadero grew up in the United States with his parents. Promising to have a university future, she studied brilliant political science at the prestigious University of Yale, and then chose song creation and performance.
After this first shift towards American-Ethiopian music, the artist decided to invest in his field by founding the Arba Minch Collective, a group of artists from the Ethiopian diaspora to send a clear message: all people from the diaspora can believe in their dreams and succeed.
Meklit has worked with the Association of Performing Arts Presenters to create an artist grant program. She is a panelist and grant evaluator for the National Endowment for the Arts. She finally puts her talent to work for migrant aid organizations.
As she explains, her past as a political science student is combined with her songs: « In my songs and my artistic approach, there is something of my university past in political science. I take the words very seriously. »
2014, the year of the musical rebirth
In 2014, a meeting will change his musical vision: « The godfather of ethio-jazz, Mulatu Astatke, came to see me after my show in Addis Ababa. He took me aside and told me this: « Don’t play ethio-jazz like we already did. You have to innovate and find your own contribution to this music. Find that place! » Advices that will pay off and it starts a long work that has begun for the artist.
« I spent six months in the studio writing new songs, recording the demos. Rhythm was the starting point for my songs. Alongside these rhythm choices, I had set up a bank of melodies imagined daily by washing dishes or driving my car or even walking in the street… I recorded them all on my phone, I collected a hundred of them and then interwoven them into the rhythms and glued texts to them… These songs were created one after another, and several were tested before the audience. »
A long research work that will give him this hybrid style, neither entirely Ethiopian, nor entirely American, nor entirely European; like Meklit: « It’s not totally Ethiopian, not totally African-American, it’s both Western and African. It belongs to me. »
We can define Meklit as a world citizen because of her past, her influences, her style, her references but especially because of her music which can take us all around the world.